People ordinarily think of the Devil’s work as being blatantly evil and frequently violent, like demon possession, mass murders, school shootings, holocausts, genocides, human trafficking, etc.
And while these human catastrophes wreak untold havoc, they pale in comparison to the scope of the more subtle spiritual destruction caused by the Devil’s most effective “weapon of mass destruction”: the art and science of distraction.
The dreadful power of spiritual distraction.
In my book, My Origin, My Destiny, I wrote:
“There is a furious, ongoing Satanic assault aimed at the target-rich spiritual lives of distracted and preoccupied modern men and women for control of their minds. The weapons employed are ideas, values and principles that wreak as much devastation inwardly as bombs and bullets do outwardly.”
“In his satirical novel, The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis wrote of the fictional demon ‘Screwtape,’ who is training his novice nephew ‘Wormwood’ in the fine art of tempting humans. Whatever their bodies do affects their souls. It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality, our best work is done by keeping things out.”
Satan distracts our attention from the Truth and points us toward carefully crafted lies that can deceive even the most careful observers.
Adam and Eve were the first to fall for the Devil’s lies and we, their descendants have been falling for them ever since — especially those lies that call into question the perfect character and loving intentions of our God.
The stakes in this battle couldn’t be higher.
Imagine for a moment that you are locked in a room with a floor that is, in fact, a trapdoor leading to certain death.’
On the wall facing you, there is an electronic sensor that you are instructed to fix your eyes upon, to prevent triggering the lethal trapdoor. As long as you keep your gaze fixed on the sensor, you are safe.
Then, without warning, your room is saturated with a constant barrage of extremely tempting images, sounds, music and voices that come at you from all directions. The temptation to look away from that electronic sensor is almost too much to bear.
How long do you think you could remain focused on that sensor, even if your life depended on it?
This illustration is not as far-fetched as it may seem …
Some time after Moses led the people of Israel out of captivity in Egypt, the Jews began grumbling against God and found themselves being attacked by poisonous serpents.
“So, the people came to Moses and said, ‘We have sinned, because we have spoken against the Lord and against you; intercede with the Lord, that He will remove the serpents from us.’ And Moses interceded for the people. Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a fiery serpent, and put it on a flagpole; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, and looks at it, will live.’ So Moses made a bronze serpent and put it on the flag pole; and it came about, that if a serpent bit someone, and he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.”
“No one has ascended into heaven, except He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes (gazes) will have eternal life in Him.”
He added, in John 12:31-33:
“‘And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself.’ Now He was saying this to indicate what kind of death He was going to die (crucifixion/lifted up).”
The most subtle distraction of all: religious pride.
Jesus had little trouble from ordinary street folks. His sworn enemies were mostly among the religious class, the Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes and high priest.
Today, the Devil is only too happy to distract and preoccupy people with various manmade religious systems, gaudy ceremonies, complicated rituals, ornate buildings and fabricated ecclesiastical hierarchies.
But don’t be fooled by all the bling. Remember Hebrews 12:2:
“… looking only at Jesus, the originator and perfecter of the faith …”
How About You?
Are you focused on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (which represents the finished work of Christ on the cross? Don’t let religiosity take your eye off the ball.